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on March 10, 2011
A softbox for $20? You bet. Although not made for everyday commercial use on location shoots, this softbox is perfect for being a piece of permanent hardware in the studio. It does its job well. The fabric/stitching/velcro would not stand up to constant assembly and disassembly. Speaking of assembly, no instructions are included, but Cowboy Studios provides a PDF on their website. Once you've put it together and taken it apart a few times, zero thought is required for the process. If using outdoors, be sure and weight your light stand as the softbox has quite a surface area and the slightest breeze will send everything flying. Overall, Cowboy Studio's softbox is a terrific value.
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on January 6, 2011
High quality material and well crafted. I had visited a website to see how to assemble one of these soft boxes before mine arrived and it seemed difficult to assemble. If the guy on the video was having a hard time, I knew that I could not expect to have an easier time. So I will not count that against the product. I assembled mine and decided to store them away built. I am sure with some time and a lot of patience someone could get very skilled at assembling these boxes but I rather spend my time taking pictures and not building boxes. I purchased two and I am very happy with the results. Again, the quality is there. The black material is thick and the reflective insides is durable. The ring is metal and heavy, meaning not a cheap plastic. I highly recommend the soft boxes. Did I mention the quality? oh yeah. This is a good value.
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on March 16, 2014
I'm a retired professional Photographer and Certified Photo Finishing Engineer of 25 yrs. (Pre-Digital)
CowboyStudio 20 x 28in Photo Softbox for Strobe with Carry Case

This Soft-Box is every bit as good as the one's sold 30 years ago to Pro's at a fraction of the price. With the inner diffusion panel it may even be better than what I use to use. Back when I was in business we used strobes and had to also use a light meter to determine the camera settings. The strobes were adapted with what was called a modeling lamp to assist in "Seeing the Light" yet the output did not match the strobe so it was hit and miss. I ran a lot of tests using string and knots and documented the test well so I would learn what my lights were doing. I suppose you still can use a strobe buy why would you.. With digital photography you can use daylight balanced fluorescent bulbs that are on at the power that you are using. This allows you to "See the Light" to determine where you want to place your light.

This is ideal since "what you see is what you get" taking a lot of the work away allows a beginner to take quality images that rival what a professional photographer may provide. Of coarse the more practice the better you become. But today you don't have to spend anything on film and photo paper and god forbid the environmental impact of chemistry and silver in the paper.

I bought the LimoStudio High Quality 4 Socket- controller with this softbox, it fits as if it was made to fit. Read my review on the socket because their title will confuse you to what it really is. This light controller lets you flip a switch to turn off 2 of the bulbs effectively cutting the intensity of the light in half. You may also use it with Umbrella reflectors. Your bulbs should be a max of 45 watts each, that's a lot of light so you will want to use the diffusion panel that comes with this softbox. The rods have a small nub and larger nub on each end to fit your light source. I read a review that said they had trouble "bending the rods", Don't even Try To Bend them unless you want to replace them. It takes a bit of patience to finesse the rods into the small holes, but don't force them.

1. You will also need a light stand with this softbox, something I kept several from the old days.
2. The LimoStudio adapter's title calls it a adapter instead of a controller and it will confuse you. (read my review on it) It's great, fits and has a adjustable angle stand double connector for vertical or horizontal, and 2 light switches so you can choose which pair of lights you want on or all four.
3. LimoStudio Full Spectrum Light Bulb- Four 45W Photography Photo CFL 6500K - Daylight balanced pure white light is a perfect set of bulbs.

a. Don't buy a 4 Socket Adapter that screws into one socket because the bulbs will stick out too far and touch the diffusion panel. You'll not have any way to attach it to the softbox or light-stand.
b. Don't buy the daylight bulbs from the hardware store, they are way off balance, meaning they produce Yellow Photo's.

I mainly use this softbox for photographing the Crosses I make. (Product Photography) It is a great source of "Soft Light" and equally as good for doing portraits. If I was to do portraiture I would want 3 of these using 2 for main lights and one on a boom stand for hair light.

I am very happy with my Cowboy Studio Softbox! Everything I listed here cost me less than $60 and would have been several hundred dollars for the equivalent. Softboxes are best suited for studio or in home use due to assembly, set-up and breakdown is not something I would want to do often. For location photography I used Umbrella Reflectors and I still think that is the way to go.

Assembly: the most difficult part is the pockets for the rod ends is hard to see. The Velcro is sewn on 3 sides forming the pocket, but it is sewn on a black piece of material used for reinforcement. the fuzz of the Velcro makes it hard to see that is is only sewn on 3 sides once you find the pockets the rest is intuitive and easily figured out. The instructions are pictures and not very helpful. Assembly is the only negative thing I found, all softboxes are difficult to set up the first time. Not exclusive to CowboyStudio. Be patient, walk away for a few minutes, don't force anything. If your horrible at assembling things ask someone to help because these instructions will challenge your last nerve.

That said, it is a great product, well made of nice quality material and will last for years of use, not made for abuse. Yes I would recommend buying this softbox and the setup I put together and described here I would rate it 10 stars if allowed.
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on October 3, 2012
The only reason that this product got one star is because of Amazon and the wonderful customer service I receive from THEM and their prompt shipping methods.

This product is a joke. First of all, the exterior of the softbox does not completely fit together causing light to "spill" out of the rear of the softbox, unless you lay a towel or some other dark cloth over the thing. In other words, the velcro does not close around the area of the monolight. The tips of the stability rods fall off of the rods themselves leaving you crawling around on the floor to find them. I would post a picture but I am not home right now while writing this review. I am completely dissatisfied and intend to contact the seller "cowboy studios" and let them know how unhappy I am with their product. I will end up purchasing a softbox from somewhere else because I would be embarrassed to bring this anywhere with me. It is definitely not what it looks like in the picture.

Completely disgusted and disillusioned!!
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on January 8, 2013
i should first start by saying that this review might not apply to everyone who ordered this product. i have a strong feeling that what i got was not made right. what i got and what is in these pictures are almost the same but slightly different.
here are the differences
1. the speeding (circular metal piece) was not the same at all.
2. the 4 rods on the inside did not bend like they are supposed to
3. the size. the pictures shown are very deceptive.
while trying to assemble the softbox, i knew exactly how to put it together but physically wasn't able to. if i were to try to bend the rods, i would end up hurting myself. i would hate for one of them to snap while in front of a client.
I even looked up video tutorials and they had no problem at all.
so, unfortunately, i am returning my softboxes and will hopefully find better ones.
-erin
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on December 30, 2013
The quality of the materials and its performance are great, no doubts about it!

BUT!!! Its was very difficult to assemble, the printed instructions are not clear enough. And even with video tutorials that I look for on the internet, I had a really hard time. Ones I assembled it, I didn't folded again.

The metal ring has more holes than the needed so its hard to guess which ones are the ones you should use.

So I LOVE the product, but HATE the assemble process.
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on March 8, 2013
Sorry, but I have big problems with descriptions from this seller, lack of support, not to mention branding issues for these (admittedly) low cost softboxes. If you're shopping for Photo products on Amazon or even direct with this reseller (that's what Cowboy Studio is, FYI), ya better do lots of research. And it's hard finding out about the items they sell. Why? Because they don't say brand names, not give anything remotely like full information. It's all about the sources they feature. Mostly it's Chinese knock-off brands sold and resold through a myriad of "channels". Suffice it to say I was very disappointed to find out that there was no size dimension of opening for the ring supplied with this product and that opening sizes differ for different strobes. I had very good success understanding that when I got the product. The assembly of the soft box and installation of the supports for the outer cover was very difficult and instructions were not supplied. It's assembly is not too well thought out and not uniform between the two I purchased. I am considering returning it. The "Kit" with a carrying case provides no means of storing the fully assembled softbox and putting it together in the field is impossible. I'll be sending these back ASAP.

Good News. It did work when assembled but did not mount to my BOWEN style studio fixture. That is the key bit of info missing from the information besides the size of the ring which there is no standard for.

Caveat emptor. And thanks for the Amazon return policy. Cowboy Studios return policy is way worse (not to mention expensive).
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on August 12, 2013
The only reason I gave it 4 stars & not 5, was that there were not assembly instructions, so it took a few extra minutes to figure out the assembly.

I'd recommend it, and I'll be getting a few more as well !
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on April 4, 2012
On my third attempt I finally got this softbox together and it worked ok, but during the assembly process, I almost poked my eye out. The stays are steel, which is good, but the pockets they go into aren't sewn together well enough to hold the tension you have to apply to assemble the softbox. I had to re-sew 2 of the pockets before I even got it assembled (fortunately my wife has a sewing machine). I first thought I got the wrong parts and they didn't fit, but after reading the reviews here decided to put quite a bit more force into it I was able to assemble it. It was downright scary...protect your eyes and never point the metal stays towards your face!

The universal speedring is big and clunky and I don't trust it. The first time I put it on my strobe, it slipped of about 20 minutes later, taking out the modeling light on its way down. When I tried to disassemble it the pockets where the stays go tore again. I suppose if you were going to assemble it and keep it assembled it's an ok cheap option for a softbox, but if your plan is to put it away after you're done shooting, I don't know how many set-up/breakdown cycles you're going to get out of it before it's completely shredded by the process.
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on March 15, 2012
This soft box is about the hardest thing I have ever had to put together. While inserting the third rod the corner ripped and I had to use tape to keep it together until I could get an new one...there is no way to repair. I would suggest forking over a bit more cash and getting one that is constructed better. Also, no instructions...bad move Cowboy Studio...seriously!

If you need instruction I found a video on You Tube, but it was still a beast....really no easy way to do it.

Here is the link.
[...]

PS - Cowboy Studio, I would suggest if you are going to continue offering this piece then you need to make some changes. PLEASE think about having the black Velcro on ALL four corners not just one because the sift box is just too tight right out of the box. Over time I am sure it would become easier to put together, but out of the box it is near impossible without tearing.
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